catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Wireless Internet update

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Some more updates on the wireless Internet market. This week, more statistics on the decline of PSTN and the rise fo fixed to mobile substitution, Voda and Optus cut their upfront hardware prices, Unwired still a long way off break-even and that cheap iBurst rumour seems to have lacked any substance (so far). More after the jump…

Fixed to Mobile Substitution
Research firm Market Clarity issued a report last week analysing the decline in PSTN voice minutes. According to the report, by 2010, local call volumes will be down 22% on year 2000 levels and long distance down 26%! The main driver of the decline is expected to be the continuing shift of voice traffic from fixed lines to mobiles. (and to a lesser extent – VoIP) Reflecting this rise in mobile communications, fixed to mobile call volumes are expected to rise 24% however this apparently won’t be much of a saviour for fixed line telco’s with fierce competition expected to moderate the revenue growth opportunities.

Vodafone was also busy last week spruiking it’s latest “research” on fixed to mobile substitution. The research undertaken by Newspoll claims that 40% of respondents now state that their mobile is their main point of contact, and that 22% would ditch their landline if they moved house. In what must be encouraging news for wireless providers such as Unwired, a third of respondents apparently stated they would ditch the landline if they could receive wireless broadband at a comparable price to fixed broadband. As I have said before, fixed to mobile substitution isn’t just going to be an issue for voice operators & telcos, it’s also going to be a threat to fixed broadband operators too.

“$100 Off” at Vodafone & Optus – Coincidence…?
Coincidence or something else. On the same day last week, Vodafone and Optus both announced they were cutting $100 off the price of the 3G wireless cards. Vodafone has dropped the upfront cost of it’s card from $399 to $299 and extended it’s “3 Months Free” promotion until the end of March. On the same day, Optus also announced that it was cutting $100 off the price of it’s 3G wireless connect card – and offer that is also going to run until … you guessed it.. the end of March. My money is on them having the same supplier for their 3G cards – so if anyone can confirm or contradict this theory I’d love to know.

Unwired Quarterly results
Last week, Unwired announced it’s results for the December 05 quarter. Unwired added just 5,600 subscribers in the December quarter, versus nearly 8,500 in the previous quarter. This brings them to 42,200 customers total, still a fair way off the 70k they previously stated they needed to break even in Sydney. The statement about a 70k breakeven was of course before they started their Melbourne rollout, but was also made before the cash injection from Intel. It’s still going to be an interesting and challenging race for Unwired as they try and get enough customers to break even before the money runs out.

No change to i-Burst Pricing
Sadly, the “leaked” i-Burst pricing hasn’t yet arrived at any of the nation’s i-Burst resellers. Looks like Commander wasn’t quite ready to pull the price lever just yet. At least it leaves them open to playing the pricing card once the cellular operators get around to rolling out HSDPA and actually challenging i-Burst for transfer speeds.


Written by Admin

February 28, 2006 at 6:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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